Civilization themed games have been around for a long time. They have gone through many iterations and continue to be a popular genre of game today. After so many great games, Civilization, Clash of Cultures, Through the Ages, and more, is there any room left to explore in the genre?
I think there’s always room for new ideas or new takes on/combinations of civ mechanisms. As importantly, game design is irritative, so I think there’s always room for a new game in the genre if it can improve upon something from earlier. For instance, these games used to be epic, all day events, but increasingly they are playable in 2 hours. That’s something. So I definitely think there’s room for more, but they may require a more unique twist than, say, a new worker placement game, if they really hope to be successful.
Great point Ryan! Getting a game to feel close to as satisfying as these big long predecessors in under 2 hours will probably be a difficult task. Maybe abstracting the civ game away from a historic setting would allow for more flexibility when designing the mechanics?
I’ve actually been humoring this idea a bit on what you guys are talking about. I don’t have a lot of Civ style experience aside the computer games. Things I’ve identified for civ style games are:
1. Starting small. Give the bare minimum basics to your players because this will give you as a designer more room to grow from. 2. Having small goals in all aspects your players can grow (military, Eco, society, religion, or whatever area you want to add) 3. Letting your players feel accomplished by taking a lot of land, having more actions, moving a lot of pieces, creating efficient systems. 4. What is the extravagant end of game picture? The board can be drastically different from from beginning of the game compared to the end.
I am toying with the idea of a civ style game with plants. You are trying to grow your empire and work your way up a tech tree which lets your plants to branch out to different play styles. I find players are intrigued with games that have to say “Whoa, how would that work?” I find there is success in combining two topics that shouldn’t be able to work together because people are interested in things they don’t know.
Dang, the plants idea is great! I love sitting down to a deeply thematic game about something I never would have thought “to be” and if it gives me familiar tools that I would typically find in a civ game all the better!
I think this is drifting away from the Civ topic but, is still applicable. A strategy for me is finding inspiration in the weirdest of places. Go on a walk and everything you see during that walk, ask yourself how would I make a civ style games out of this? This will really help push the stigma of a game having to be a specific genre or style. For civ style games, try finding the reasons you love these games and break them down into a few key things. Then see what you find on your walk and ask how that thing relates to the ideas of why you love civ games. There is totally so much room for civilization style games to continue being made.